So far Steve has been been off in his estimations on how I'd react to his suggestions. He thought I'd love Devil's Backbone. I thought it was pretty good. He thought I'd really like My Favorite Year... I didn't. And he thought I'd like this one alright, but that's about it. And yet again, he's wrong. I absolutely loved this movie. Like... added to Top 3 favorite classics kind of love. I might let it sink in a little more, but my gut reaction was putting it in my number 2 spot, right behind 12 Angry Men (which is my current favorite classic). There was hardly one thing about this flick I found bad.
The writing, first and foremost, was astounding. I was hooked by the time Walter and Phyllis first met and every single word that came out of their mouths were double entendres. And as the film went on and became darker, the wit slowed down, but the fantastic lines still rolled on. I loved lines like "how could I know that murder could sometimes smell like honeysuckle?" and "I couldn't hear my own footsteps; it was the walk of a dead man." There were so many fantastic lines in this movie that I could literally keep going for the rest of this review.
What really helped those lines, though, were the actors and the directing. At times, I was reminded slightly of His Girl Friday and the quickness of the dialogue and the wit that came with it. I loved not only the speed of the delivery, but how strong and meaningful all the lines in this film were. My copy of the film had an introduction before it, and the guy stated that this was easily the best performances in the careers of everybody who participated. I'm no classic film buff by any means, but Hell... as far as I know, he's right. Everybody did so well.
I loved the framing of the shots. There's an intense moment where Keyes is leaving Walter's place and Phyllis is dropping in, but they can't be seen together, so Phyllis is hiding behind Walter's open door with Keyes just on the other side. That's a great shot. I love the decision not to show the actual murder, but instead you hear it. And then all the shadow shots, which I suppose are usual for the genre.
The use of noir voice-over is so natural as it has a perfect, in-story reason for it to be happening. There are some nice twists at the end that caught me off guard. The reversal of the match lighting in the final scene. I know I'm gushing, and this doesn't make for a very entertaining review. If you want negative, the best I can give is that maybe there were 1 or 2 scenes that dragged for a minute or so too long, but that's about it. Great writing, great suspense, and just all-around great flick. I guess I kinda liked it.
Royale With Cheese